Sawtooth Peak(S), Lamont Peak
By: Sara Wyrens
Lamont 2,300 gain 4.0 mi Sawtooth 2,500 gain 8.0 semi loop.
David Beymer and I originally scheduled a backpack to Kern Peak for this weekend but had to cancel because of the McNally fire closure. Kern Peak was spared but roads to Blackrock Trailhead were still closed as of the above date. We originally had ten participants but many dropped out when we had to come up with plan B to climb Sawtooth and Lamont. So that left four of us to enjoy this early autumn trip to two easy but very beautiful day hikes. The participants were: Michael Gosnell, Maura Raffensperger, David Beymer (co-leader) and yours truly. I arrived Friday afternoon in time to explore some of the dirt roads around the vicinity and enjoy the incredible sunset in the distance on the horizon. Soon I was not alone as a truck pulled up beside me. It was Dave Freeland, one of the Fireman on the McNally fire Management Team. I told him of our plans for the weekend and he so graciously proceeded to invite myself and Michael to go back to the fire station that evening for coffee and to look at maps; he and another Fireman suggested routes for these and other peaks in the area. We liked Dave’s suggested Sawtooth route which was a semi ioop for variety, and so it was.
Our day started from Chimney Peak Campground at 9:30 a.m. where we teamed up with David and Maura. From here, we took a short hike up dirt road to the PCT. Our route took us up the well maintained trail exactly three miles to an obvious saddle where we broke off to grab the ridge heading north to Sawtooth. After a short class II scramble to summit, we then continued north on the ridge, per Dave’s suggestion, to find second saddle [UTM NAD 83 (11 ~ 09 261 E) ( ~~65 ~ N)J. We then dropped down to find obvious intermittent stream, which of course was dry, to make our way back to PCT. Doing the plunge step in deep sand got us into the stream bed quickly; what fun! The rest of the way included some rock scrambling down dry water falls and bush whacking (not much though). We arrived back at camp late afternoon, got cleaned up to go have dinner at “The Grumpy Bear” ten miles up the road. Prime rib was their special for the night so we happily indulged.
Day two to Lamont was uneventful but I’m happy to say the trail was decent most of the way up. Dave our Fireman friend says crews were up earlier in the summer making trail improvements. Like Sawtooth, Lamont has a short scramble to the top. We were back to cars by early afternoon for a leisurely drive back to the city. More good news:
The dirt road from Sherman Pass Road to 178 is excellent. Several years ago when I was in the area the road was full of divots, drop offs, large rocks, etc. High clearance was differently needed. Now any vehicle can make it.
Great trip as usual and so glad to be out hiking again after my short recovery absence! Thanks to David, Maura and Michael for all their encouragement!
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